As Global Grad Show announces its new partner; Investment Corporation of Dubai, we caught up with curator Brendan McGetrick about this year’s edition, how it’s changed over the past four years and what he’s most looking forward to.

We started by asking him what is new this year?

There a several new initiatives this year that I’m very excited about. One is the exhibition design. It’s being developed by Jing Liu from design firm SO-IL and Bryony Roberts, two brilliant New York-based designers. They’ve created a bold, immersive design for the show that I think will provide visitors with an imaginative landscape in which to explore the projects and meet the people behind them.

With the support of Investment Corporation of Dubai, we’re able to expand the programming of the event and add a new dimension to Global Grad Show. We’re holding an innovation conference called ‘Belief in AI’ which will examine how culture and creativity are changing in the age of automation. The curators, Ben Vickers, CTO of Serpentine Galleries in London and Kenrick McDowell, Artist + Machine Intelligence program lead at Google Arts & Culture, are leaders in this field and are putting together a thought-provoking group of speakers.

We’re also introducing the Dubai Design Evolution Challenge. This will be a fast and fun design sprint where the designers participating in GGS partner with Dubai-based design students to explore the city and design the next iteration of a product, service or experience that they find here. It’s being made in partnership with CERN’s IdeaSquare program and I’m super excited to see how it turns out.

The exhibition is unique, in that is gives an insight into how really talented graduates are using design to solve real world problems. What are some of the common issues being addressed?

There are some really pressing problems like climate change, mass migration, and ageing populations. And these are clearly top of mind for everyone with some interesting projects that turn the problem on its head. For example, Peter Cheah’s Stem project considers what will happen if we cannot save the bees and uses robotics to simulate what bees do. Other issues include considering uses for new technologies. The show this year is framed by a single idea: technology is the answer but what is the question? What we’re trying to show is a more expansive view of design and innovation that uses technology to enrich the human experience and improve our relationship with nature.

How did you shortlist 150 projects from over 1000 entries?

In general, projects are selected for GGS according to how well they meet four criteria: originality, social impact, international relevance and feasibility. As the number of entries grows it is more challenging to make choices as the standard is very high and the projects all have merit.

What’s your favourite thing about the show?

There’s not really a single favorite thing. I am proud to bring together and help form a community of the most inspiring graduates from universities around the world. Creativity breeds creativity and there is nothing more productive and reassuring for graduates than to be surrounded by likeminded creative individuals, especially in a city like Dubai where creativity and technology is being heavily invested in and celebrated. Being able to put all that together is special and deeply inspiring to me.